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J Clin Invest. 2013 Jul 1. pii: 66549. doi: 10.1172/JCI66549. [Epub ahead of print]

Angiopoietin 2 mediates microvascular and hemodynamic alterations in sepsis.

Abstract

Septic shock is characterized by increased vascular permeability and hypotension despite increased cardiac output. Numerous vasoactive cytokines are upregulated during sepsis, including angiopoietin 2 (ANG2), which increases vascular permeability. Here we report that mice engineered to inducibly overexpress ANG2 in the endothelium developed sepsis-like hemodynamic alterations, including systemic hypotension, increased cardiac output, and dilatory cardiomyopathy. Conversely, mice with cardiomyocyte-restricted ANG2 overexpression failed to develop hemodynamic alterations. Interestingly, the hemodynamic alterations associated with endothelial-specific overexpression of ANG2 and the loss of capillary-associated pericytes were reversed by intravenous injections of adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) transducing cDNA for angiopoietin 1, a TIE2 ligand that antagonizes ANG2, or AAVs encoding PDGFB, a chemoattractant for pericytes. To confirm the role of ANG2 in sepsis, we i.p. injected LPS into C57BL/6J mice, which rapidly developed hypotension, acute pericyte loss, and increased vascular permeability. Importantly, ANG2 antibody treatment attenuated LPS-induced hemodynamic alterations and reduced the mortality rate at 36 hours from 95% to 61%. These data indicate that ANG2-mediated microvascular disintegration contributes to septic shock and that inhibition of the ANG2/TIE2 interaction during sepsis is a potential therapeutic target.

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